Title: An Enchantment of Ravens
Author: Margaret Rogerson
Intended audience: YA
Date Read: 04/03/19 – 06/03/19
This is one of those books that was totally enjoyable to read but was totally unmemorable after I finished it. It was fun but ultimately a bit flimsy.
Isobel is an expert portrait artist who is popular with the fair folk due to her extraordinary talent. But when she paints human sorrow into the eyes of the Autumn Prince, he whisks her away to the fairy court to stand trial for humiliating him.
That is essentially the story that is on the back cover of the book, but it’s not exactly the direction the story takes. For one thing, the Autumn Prince, Rook, and Isobel, never actually get as far as a trial. I think the fact that it never quite goes in the direction it promised kind of threw me and left me feeling a little bit unsatifised.
I could also never quite pin Isobel down… was she a Mary Sue? She was certainly ridiculously talented. Surely there were more older, experienced painters than this seventeen-year-old, even if she has been painting “ever since she could hold a brush”. Or was she one of those clever, capable female characters who turns to mush over a handsome man the second they meet? Actually, she certainly was the latter, even if she wasn’t the former.
And yet, at times, there was something about Rook that I really enjoyed. I think it might have been that he subverted a lot of my expectations. In so many books about the other folk, the Fey love interest is cruel and cold and the romance is a pile of problematic trash. Rook was actually vulnerable and awkward at times, and I enjoyed the way his privilege was often addressed. So I guess while he wasn’t the greastest love interest ever, he was better than I was expecting from this type of story, so it gets points for that.
I really enjoyed the world-building of the fairy realm and I enjoyed the exploration of a life of immortality devoid of feeling. However, I thought that Isobel’s world of Whimsy was a bit flimsy. I wasn’t quite sure whether it was part of our world, somewhere in between our world and the fairy one, or what was going on. There were references to something called The World Beyond but I wasn’t quite sure if this was our world, an afterlife or something else all together.
Still, despite all of that (and a bit of a deux-ex-machina-y ending that was supposedly being masterminded by another character all along), the writing was quite lyrical and lovely and that was what kept me reading. Overall, I enjoyed the book, even though it will not go down as a favourite.